Marketing your law firm, even when completely compliant with legal ethics, can be bad. There’s a dark side to marketing, and a light one. Manipulation versus encouragement. Propaganda versus persuasion.
Really cheesy law firm promotion versus classy, genuinely helpful (and effective) promotion.
A fair share of law firms the Practice Alchemy team has worked with have come to the table with bad habits. It manifests in one of two ways:
- They’ll have run through print ads, local television commercials, and pinning business cards up at pizza shops without a good way of measuring how those efforts are actually leading to new clients.
- They’ll be capitalizing on the word of mouth reputation they’ve built up in the past, without doing anything to continue driving business.
We get our members back on the right track within the first month of running their marketing, however. Here are five law firm marketing best practices that are proven to deliver clients and improve attorneys’ reputations.
Build an Authoritative Blog
Yes, blogging. It’s not just for journalists or emotional teenagers.
The best way for lawyers to prove that they can serve clients effectively is to share what they know. Now, you can’t go handing out legal advice all over the web, since that’s bound to lead to trouble. What you can do is share your legal perspective on hot current events, or point out bad practice. Publish anecdotes about your previous case victories, if you can.
These types of articles will give prospective clients something they can use, and implicitly build trust before you ever even meet.
It also serves as a vetting tool. As visitors explore your perspective and work, they’ll understand more about who you are and whether you’d be good to work with. If they decide not to employ you, that’s fine. You only want to work with the best clients anyway.
One thing to note if you’re working on a blog - it’s part of a long game. If you bulk up on content for a few months, then stop for a year, it looks abandoned. Aside from missing opportunities to draw in new clients, it may also give a negative impression about your work ethic or imply that you’re too busy to handle new business.
Send Emails with Pinpoint Accuracy
Email can have a tremendous impact on the success of law firm marketing - as long as it’s executed well.
With tools like marketing automation, attorneys can build sustainable communication programs. By leveraging contact information, the messages sent in those programs can be customized to focus on the services that are most important and relevant to the client.
Say that you’re a divorce attorney, and a young mother is seeking representation. Which message would be more appealing to that prospect and lead to a conversation:
- A generic email sharing the number of cases you’ve won for your clients
- A specialized email sharing the story of how you successful helped a mother of three retain custody of her children
Relevance is incredibly important in law firm marketing because if you can help prospects visualize their success as your client, they’ll want to actually become your client.
Pick the Right Social Media Channels
To continue with the theme of relevancy, it’s important to know where your audience is actually looking.
Attorneys practicing some form of corporate law or intellectual property law are likely going to find success on LinkedIn, where users are already thinking about their business. Divorce or estate attorneys, on the other hand, are working with families. Facebook will likely be a good place to attract the right clients.
Based on research from our own member base, we’ve found that 64% of attorneys consider social media to be an integral part of their client generation methods. Considering that, it only makes sense to continue that method - but to use it more accurately and intelligently.
Dumb Things Down
Using simple language can be difficult for attorneys. After all, you’re the expert, and we even told you earlier to demonstrate that.
But let’s be clear: you’re the expert. Not your clients. That’s why they need you in the first place. And who are you trying to talk to? Clients. So what language do you need to use? Client-speak.
In other words, drop the legal jargon.
The whole point of law firm marketing is to connect and build trust with your client base. Communicating and being helpful, instead of bullying people into a deal. When lawyers or other professionals use complicated language, humans instinctively are put on edge. Why? It reminds them of the slimy used car salesman who talks fast, makes things complicated, and hides the fact that they tucked a few extra thousand dollars into the final bill of sale.
Stop Networking, Start Connecting
What’s the difference between networking and connecting? Reciprocity. People like situations where they win. When a potential referral partner asks, “What’s in it for me?” you’d better have an answer.
Building a referral network takes more than handing out business cards. Just like when you’re trying to attract clients, it’s important to recognize who you’re talking to and what’s valuable to them.
A classic example of a good law firm referral relationship is between an estate planning attorney and a financial planner. One of the attorney’s clients recently was named a beneficiary, while one of the financial planner’s clients suffered a family loss. Each professional can help the other’s client with the next steps in that scenario.
Practice Alchemy is a legal marketing firm that specializes in generating high-quality leads for your law practice. Our team not only builds a customized marketing strategy for your practice, but takes care of all the work, too. Click here to get started with a law firm marketing assessment today!